5.4b Examples of situations

The range of problems students may approach academic advisers (AAs) and/or departmental tutors (DTs) with can be very varied, and may include:

  • declaring themselves to be at risk or being stalked;
  • disclosing self-harm;
  • drug addiction or alcoholism (see Student Drug and Alcohol Policy and Procedure at A-Z of School Regulations and Codes of Practice);
  • forced marriage (see Appendix 6 (PDF);
  • consensual relations (guidance on this subject is being drafted and will be linked to here when available);
  • termination of pregnancy ;
  • disclosure of a mental-health issue;
  • telling you about a serious family issue such as:
    • divorcing parents
    • bankruptcy proceedings
    • serious illness or death of a relative or friend
    • caring responsibility for a dependent (eg alcoholic parent, drug addicted sibling, terminally ill relative)
    • rape or abuse of the student or someone close to them
  • being harassed directly or via emails (see the Harassment information on the HR website);
  • accusing a fellow student or member of staff of an offence (be aware of disciplinary procedures);
  • making a complaint against a member of staff/function in the School (be aware of Complaints Procedures).   

In many cases, DTs and AAs may wish to refer students on to appropriate professional services, rather than attempt to advise students directly. Section 7| of this handbook provides guidance on the range of services available at the School. When handling sensitive cases, both DTs and AAs need to be well informed concerning UK diversity legislation. A short briefing is included in Appendix 5|.

However, students may also be seeking changes/adjustments to their studies (eg asking for time out, extensions to assessed work deadlines, etc). In such cases, it is very important that AAs, and indeed DTs, consult with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and/or the Student Services Centre and Disability and Wellbeing Service before agreeing to any concrete long-term solutions. There may be precedents for action based on previous cases, and there may also be legal implications that need to be considered.